Classified as a district-level town, Ninh Hoa (Ninh Hòa) is located in the South Central Coast Region of Vietnam. A part of the Khanh Hoa (Khánh Hòa) Province, the town has become a small resort destination for national and international travelers.
Widely considered to be one of the most beautiful spots on the South Central Coast, Ninh Hoa is much less touristy than its nearby neighbor, Nha Trang. With fewer tourists to crowd the beach, travelers can spoil themselves as they relax poolside at one of Ninh Hoa’s luxury resorts.
Boasting a population of about 227,630 people (last estimated in 2003), Ninh Hoa is a small town that sits just to the north of Nha Trang and Cam Ranh. The town is the capital of its district, which includes multiple administrative divisions of wards, communes, and villages. Fairly large, Ninh Hoa Town covers an area of 1,199 sq km (463 sq mi).
Overlooking the Hon Khoi Salt Fields near Ninh Hoa Town. Photo: Phong Nguyen
However, tourists will find that most of the resorts and attractions are in a concentrated area that is next to the ocean. Tourism to Ninh Hoa Town is mostly fueled by travelers who are exploring the South Central Coast Region. For those who want to avoid the crowds of Nha Trang and Cam Ranh, Ninh Hoa is the perfect destination that’s not too remote and not too busy.
Nha Trang and Cam Ranh are both to the south of Ninh Hoa. Nha Trang is about a 45-minute drive down the coast and Cam Ranh is 1.5 hours away. The only way for travelers to get to Ninh Hoa from Nha Trang or Cam Ranh is by road. Most travelers will arrange for private transportation, like a taxi, to make the journey.
Ninh Hoa’s early history begins in the 17th century with the creation of the Thai Khang government by Lord Nguyen Phuc Tan. By the late 17th century, the Thai Khanh government was reshaped to form the Binh Khang government, which was ruled by the Tay Son Dynasty.
In 1803, the Tay Son (Tây Sơn) Dynasty changed their government to the name Binh Hoa and by 1831, the name was once again changed to Ninh Hoa. Since then, the town has kept its name, even as the province’s in the area changed. From the mid-1940s, Ninh Hoa was occupied by the French until nearly 2 decades later, when full control was granted to the Vietnamese government.
Gas lantern hanging at Ninh Van Bay near Ninh Hoa Town, Vietnam. Photo: Eeyore
Free from occupation and always part of Khanh Hoa Province, Ninh Hoa was given 2 cantons of the Dak Lak (Dắk Lắk) Province in 1959. This marked the last major change for the district and since 1959, the local administrative divisions have remained stable.
For the locals living in Ninh Hoa, history is an important part of the town’s identity. Many artifacts dating back to the 17th century and French Occupation have been found throughout Ninh Hoa and the province. In Ninh Hoa Town, the local government houses unique historical artifacts in a traditional house that now acts as a museum.
Documenting the past, there are more than 120 objects and numerous photographs that have been preserved in recent years. Common artifacts that have been found around Ninh Hoa include musical instruments, tools, jars, cannons, and even urns holding the ashes of ethnic people.
- In Vietnamese, the full name of Ninh Hoa Town is Thị xã Ninh Hòa.
- The official administrative divisions of Ninh Hoa include 7 wards and 20 communes.
- Agriculture, fishing, salt-making, handicrafts, and forestry are common industries in Ninh Hoa.
Colorful sunset at Ninh Hoa Town, Vietnam. Photo: Tấn Phú Lương
Despite being unknown and overlooked by most tourists, there are several interesting attractions in Ninh Hoa Town. With a wide variety of attractions that range from natural wonders to cultural excursions, tourists will have plenty to do as they explore this coastal town.
Of the many attractions in Ninh Hoa Town, the top things to see are Doc Let Beach, Tong Lam Lo Son Temple, Ba Ho Waterfall, Ninh Thuy (Ninh Thủy) Fishing Village, Hon Khoi Salt Fields, and the Nha Phu Lagoon.
Doc Let Beach
Nearly 10 km (6 mi) long and lined with coconut trees, Doc Let Beach is the premier public sandy spot in Ninh Hoa Town. Brilliant white sand and shallow waves make the beach ideal for swimming and lounging. Travelers with families will especially love Doc Let because it’s safe for children.
Relax at Doc Let Beach in Ninh Hoa. Photo: Anh Tuan Nguyen
Along the beach, there are a few resorts and restaurants as well as small shops set up by locals that sell souvenirs and beach toys. Additionally, paid excursions like jet skiing and surfing are a fun way to spend time at Doc Let Beach.
Tong Lam Lo Son Temple
One of the most beautiful temples in Ninh Hoa is called Tong Lam Lo Son. A Buddhist temple, the main attraction is the large white statue of Buddha that stands over the grounds. Visitors to Tong Lam Lo Son will have access to the main temple, shrine, gardens, and statues.
A fairly large complex, there’s a lot to see at Tong Lam Lo Son. Stairs are a common feature throughout, and from higher up, there are wonderful views of the valley below.
Ba Ho Waterfall (Suoi Ba Ho)
A little outside of Ninh Hoa Town, Ba Ho Waterfall (Suối Ba Hố) is one of the most popular zones for ecotourism. Surrounded by dense jungle, Ba Ho is the perfect destination for hiking and climbing. The waterfall is the main attraction, but visitors will enjoy wading in the streams and viewing the 3 natural lakes.
Visit the Ba Ho Stream and Waterfall outside of Ninh Hoa. Photo:
Visitors to Ba Ho will have to pay the entrance fee and once inside, they’ll have access to a variety of services. Local tours provide excursions to the lakes and waterfall as well as into the jungle. Small restaurants and food stalls can be found inside the Ba Ho area.
Ninh Thuy Fishing Village
First settled as a fishing village centuries ago, Ninh Thuy has become a cultural and historic attraction near Ninh Hoa Town. Still functioning as a fishing village, locals preserve their culture by teaching the next generation traditional methods.
Tourists are welcome to visit the village to learn more about Ninh Thuy, its history, and angling. Most tourists will head to Ninh Thuy for a half-day trip, with the tour ending by sharing lunch with a local family. Fresh fish is typically fried and served with rice and vegetables.
Hon Khoi Salt Fields
For a fun cultural excursion, tourists should visit the Hon Khoi Salt Fields outside of Ninh Hoa Town. Considered to be one of the largest salt fields in the country, Hon Khoi produces up to 737,000 tons of salt per year. Important to the local economy, the fields have also become a tourist attraction.
Workers in the Hon Khoi Salt Fields. Photo: Phong Nguyen
Beautiful in their symmetrical layout, those who visit the fields can learn more about the production of salt in Ninh Hoa and Vietnam. Aside from the fields, there aren’t many attractions in the area. Touring the salt fields is an ideal half-day trip that takes visitors outside of Ninh Hoa and into the local community. Please note that those visiting the fields should bring their own snacks and drinks.
Nha Phu Lagoon
Less than 16 km (10 mi) outside of Ninh Hoa is Nha Phu Lagoon. Substantial in size, the lagoon covers an area of 1,500 hectares. In the area, visitors can head to Hon Sam Beach and Monkey Island, where you can observe wild monkeys in their natural habitat. Additional attractions in the ecological area include three islands called Hon Lao, Hon Thi, and Hoa Lan.
The Orchid Stream is another popular place where visitors can kayak and visit the Orchid Cave when the flowers are in bloom. Best experienced through a tour, the Long Phu Tourist Company is one of the best-organized groups that offer extensive day tours of the lagoon. Common tour packages include visits to the various islands and beaches as well as activities like skydiving and chariot rides.
Though Ninh Hoa is much more well-known and popular with national tourists, foreigners will be happy to know that the town has plenty of resorts for overnight guests. There are a few small hotels in town, but without good ratings, most tourists will skip these properties and head straight for larger accommodations.
Most of the resorts in Ninh Hoa are concentrated around two areas – Doc Let Beach and Ninh Van Bay. In these two spots, tourism is thriving and many of the resorts have excellent reviews. The best resorts with the highest ratings in Ninh Hoa Town are the Six Senses Ninh Van Bay, L’Alya Ninh Van Bay, Paradise Resort Doc Let, and Some Days of Silence Resort and Spa.
A villa at the Six Senses Ninh Van Bay. Photo: Six Senses Ninh Van Bay
Six Senses Ninh Van Bay – Just steps away from the beach, the Six Senses Ninh Van Bay is one of the most beloved resorts in the area. A luxurious property, all of the rooms are villas that vary in size and boast a beautiful view of the ocean while a few even have access to a private swimming pool.
Guests staying in a villa without a pool will still have access to a private terrace and the property’s outdoor infinity pool. Featured at the property are an award-winning spa, yoga pavilion, fitness room, and salon.
An on-site restaurant called, Dining by the Bay, serves a 6-course menu of masterful culinary infusions. Buffet breakfast is provided to all guests and the restaurant is open for lunch and dinner too. Guests can also relax in the Six Senses Hideaway Lounge for before or after dinner cocktails.
L’Alya Ninh Van Bay – Another marvelous property in Ninh Van Bay is the L’Alya Resort. Providing world-class service, this resort sits in the rolling hills above the beach. A large infinity pool overlooks the ocean and guests will fall in love with the on-site restaurant. Typical meals include traditional Vietnamese dishes and seafood specialties.
Infinity pool at L’Alya Ninh Van Bay. Photo: L’Alya Ninh Van Bay
Similar in layout to the Six Senses Resort, guests at L’Alya will stay in private villas. Each villa has an ocean view and comes with a private pool. Inside the rooms, guests will find a TV, iPhone dock, and coffee machine. On the terrace, there are semi-outdoor bath areas with rain showers.
Some Days of Silence Resort and Spa – Situated just 2 minutes inland from Doc Let Beach, Some Days of Silence Resort and Spa has a luscious garden property that offers bungalows to overnight guests. Each room has a garden view and a terrace with a hammock. A few of the larger bungalows also have a private pool.
On the property, the in-house restaurant has a diverse menu that features dishes from Western and Asian cuisine. Vegetarian options are also included as long as guests provide their requests 2 hours in advance. Additional nearby attractions include the Minh Hai Fishing Village, Cho Hai San Seafood Market, and the Hon Khoi Salt Fields.
Paradise Resort Doc Let – Front and center of Doc Let Beach, Paradise Resort is one of the area’s highest-rated properties. With a garden view, sea view, and bungalow rooms, guests can relax in spacious accommodations that include AC, a TV, a seating area, a private bathroom, and linens.
Doc Let Veach at the Paradise Resort. Photo: Paradise Resort Doc Let
The resort has an on-site restaurant, which offers meals throughout the day. Complimentary to all guests are continental and buffet breakfast options. Other community spaces in the resort include a billiards room, sun terrace, garden, and barbecue facilities.
While all of the resorts in Ninh Hoa will have an on-site restaurant, some tourists may also want to explore the town. Since most of the luxury restaurants are on resort properties, local restaurants in Ninh Hoa Town tend to be quite modest. A few of the best places to eat in Ninh Binh are the Banh Uot So 1 Ninh Hoa, Garden House Doc Let Restaurant, and the Quan Be Hai San Nhu Ly.
Banh Uot So 1 Ninh Hoa – Located on the main highway that goes through the town and boasting affordable prices, Banh Uot So 1 Ninh Hoa comes highly recommended for their delicious Vietnamese meals. The best-selling item on the menu is a thin pancake that’s similar to a crepe and stuffed with fresh ingredients like shrimp and green vegetables.
Garden House Doc Let Restaurant – Well-liked for its fun atmosphere and open-air layout, the Garden House Doc Let Restaurant sits right on the beach so that diners can stop by after a long day in the sun. With indoor and outdoor dining, a beautiful garden, and great views make this restaurant popular with national and foreign tourists.
The Garden House Doc Let. Photo: Garden House Dốc Lết
Quan Be Hai San Nhu Ly – Set on stilts over the water, diners at Quan Be Hai San Nhu Ly will know that their fish is fresh. Beneath the seating area, the water has been turned into a hatchery, allowing live fish to swim beneath diners and be freshly harvested for meals.
The spacious and airy layout gives visitors excellent views of the landscape and ensures that everyone isn’t crowded into a small space. Typical meals at the restaurant include seafood delights and steamed vegetables. For budget travelers, this restaurant is recommended because of its affordable prices.
With heavy rain, high temperatures, and lots of humidity, the wet season is the least popular time for tourists in Ninh Hoa. Though plenty of national tourists will brave the weather to cool off at the beach, it isn’t common to see foreign tourists in the area during the months of September, October, November, and December.
Instead, the dry season is the best time to visit Ninh Hoa Town, which begins in January and lasts until August. With mostly cooler temperatures and less rain, tourists won’t have to worry about their beach activities getting ruined. From May to August, tourists should be prepared for the high heat and return of the rain.
Less popular than the nearby Nha Trang and Cam Ranh Bay, Ninh Hoa Town offers tourists the best of Vietnam’s South Central Coast without the massive hoards of crowds. Although the town is still quite popular, it is more common to see locals and national tourists than international travelers.
Harvest season at the Hon Khoi Salt Fields. Photo: Hoang Giang Hai
For curious travelers who want to explore more of Vietnam’s quieter resort communities, Ninh Hoa sits at the top of the “must visit” list. With everything needed for a vacation in paradise, tourists will love the spectacular scenery, luxurious resorts, and fun activities in Ninh Hoa.
Address: Ninh Hoa Town, Khanh Hoa Province, Vietnam
Season: Year-round | Best during the dry season
Keyword: Ninh Hoa Town, Khanh Hoa, Vietnam